County Council to Vote on Annexation-Related Sammamish Valley Study

A joint agreement between the county and the City of Woodinville to study growth issues in the valley will be up for a vote on Monday.

The King County Council heard public testimony last week on a 2012 update to its Comprehensive Plan, the blueprint for growth in unincorporated areas of the county, including the Sammamish Valley outside Woodinville.

While the majority of people spoke about annexation issues in the south end of the county, only a handful from Woodinville voiced their opinions. And instead of speaking directly to proposed annexations in Woodinville, they urged the county to support a recently-proposed joint planning effort between the county and city of Woodinville. It would allow the entities to study issues related to growth within the Sammamish Valley.

Former Woodinville Mayor Lucy DeYoung was among those who spoke at Monday's meeting. She asked county councilmembers to please support having the study, "so we can get the best solution for everybody."

The joint study proposed by the county comes after county officials said they were not likely to support an idea earlier this year by property owners and the city to annex portions of unincorporated Woodinville in the Sammamish Valley into the city limits.

The purpose of the study is to develop joint recommendations for promoting the wine and agriculture industries in Woodinville. The Woodinville City Council took the proposal and passed the measure by a 5-2 vote. 

With that version in hand, King County Councilmembers Kathy Lambert and Larry Phillips have proposed that the study be included in the Comprehensive Plan as an amendment (see attached for study details) that would direct the county executive to move forward with the joint planning effort. The language is substantively the same as what the city adopted, but has a few edits, county officials told Patch.

Through the study, the county and city would analyze and consider:

  • Transportation infrastructure,
  • The finite nature and value of agricultural soil resources,
  • Character of the surrounding rural area,
  • Vacant, buildable, and redevelopable land within the existing urban growth area,
  • The adopted Countywide Planning Policies and King County Comprehensive Plan,
  • Input from the public and interested stakeholders, including local businesses and surrounding city and unincorporated area communities,
  • Failing septic systems and pollution in the valley, in conjunction with the report set forth in subsection I of this section; and
  • Non-conforming uses on the unincorporated lands in King County and on the agricultural lands.

“This amendment allows for an important dialogue on how to address all of the various long-term needs in the greater Woodinville area in an open manner,” said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “The initiation of this joint planning process has already shown us that both the City and the County share the values of promoting and preserving the wine and agriculture industries, as well as addressing growth needs while still meeting the required Growth Management Act goals. This process is an exciting opportunity to evaluate the best ways to further develop and sustain this area as an outstanding community for the region to enjoy.”

This amendment will be up for a vote on Monday, Dec. 3, as part of the consideration of the update to the Comprehensive Plan.

The King County Comprehensive Plan guides growth and development in the unincorporated areas of the county and sets policy on such major issues as annexations, transportation, and the environment. Every four years, the KCCP is reviewed and major updates occur. The last major review was in 2008.


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